IRS Appeals Office Strives to Enhance Taxpayer Dispute Resolution Programs

IRS Appeals Office Launches New Taxpayer Programs to Improve Dispute Resolution

The Appeals office of the IRS is rolling out new taxpayer programs in an effort to improve dispute resolution and bring greater awareness to these initiatives following a scathing government report that criticized the management of dispute resolution programs.

The IRS’ Office of Appeals recently unveiled its “Focus Guide” for the fiscal year 2024, outlining its efforts to enhance the process of helping taxpayers “resolve tax disputes in a fair and impartial manner without the need for litigation,” a press release from the agency stated on December 8th. One of the primary areas of focus outlined in the guide is the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs, which employ an IRS mediator to help settle tax disputes between taxpayers and the agency.

According to a report published earlier this year by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS’ management of its dispute resolution programs was found to be lacking. The TIGTA report highlighted a number of concerns, including poor case handling, inadequate training, and failure to maintain accurate records. As a result, the IRS has since made a concerted effort to address these issues and revamp its dispute resolution programs to better serve taxpayers.

The Focus Guide released by the IRS’ Office of Appeals outlines a series of goals and strategies designed to bolster the agency’s approach to dispute resolution. In addition to the ADR programs, the guide also emphasizes the use of fast-track settlement (FTS) and post-appeals mediation (PAM) as alternative methods for resolving tax disputes in a timely and efficient manner.

The IRS is keen on implementing these new programs to not only streamline the dispute resolution process, but also to promote greater awareness and accessibility to these initiatives among taxpayers. The agency aims to educate taxpayers on the various options available to them for resolving tax disputes, including the ADR, FTS, and PAM programs. By doing so, the IRS hopes to empower taxpayers with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate the often complex and daunting process of resolving tax issues.

In addition to promoting awareness of these programs, the IRS will also be working to enhance the overall quality and effectiveness of its dispute resolution efforts. This includes providing additional training and support to its Appeals employees, as well as implementing improvements to case management and record-keeping practices to ensure greater accuracy and efficiency in the handling of tax disputes.

Overall, the IRS’ Office of Appeals is taking proactive steps to address the shortcomings identified in the TIGTA report and improve the management of its dispute resolution programs. By launching new taxpayer programs and focusing on increasing awareness and accessibility to these initiatives, the IRS is aiming to strengthen the integrity of its dispute resolution process and better serve the interests of taxpayers.


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